Four Zoas, The (excerpt)

1.1 "What is the price of Experience? do men buy it for a song?
1.2 Or wisdom for a dance in the street? No, it is bought with the price
1.3 Of all that a man hath, his house, his wife, his children.
1.4 Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy,
1.5 And in the wither'd field where the farmer plows for bread in vain.
1.6 It is an easy thing to triumph in the summer's sun
1.7 And in the vintage and to sing on the waggon loaded with corn.
1.8 It is an easy thing to talk of patience to the afflicted,
1.9 To speak the laws of prudence to the houseless wanderer,
1.10 To listen to the hungry raven's cry in wintry season
1.11 When the red blood is fill'd with wine and with the marrow of lambs.
1.12 It is an easy thing to laugh at wrathful elements,
1.13 To hear the dog howl at the wintry door, the ox in the slaughter house moan;
1.14 To see a god on every wind and a blessing on every blast;
1.15 To hear sounds of love in the thunder storm that destroys our enemies' house;
1.16 To rejoice in the blight that covers his field, and the sickness that cuts off his
children,
1.17 While our olive and vine sing and laugh round our door, and our children bring
fruits and flowers.
1.18 Then the groan and the dolor are quite forgotten, and the slave grinding at the
mill,
1.19 And the captive in chains, and the poor in the prison, and the soldier in the field
1.20 When the shatter'd bone hath laid him groaning among the happier dead.
1.21 It is an easy thing to rejoice in the tents of prosperity:
1.22 Thus could I sing and thus rejoice: but it is not so with me."
2.1 "Compel the poor to live upon a crust of bread, by soft mild arts.
2.2 Smile when they frown, frown when they smile; and when a man looks pale
2.3 With labour and abstinence, say he looks healthy and happy;
2.4 And when his children sicken, let them die; there are enough
2.5 Born, even too many, and our earth will be overrun
2.6 Without these arts. If you would make the poor live with temper,
2.7 With pomp give every crust of bread you give; with gracious cunning
2.8 Magnify small gifts; reduce the man to want a gift, and then give with pomp.
2.9 Say he smiles if you hear him sigh. If pale, say he is ruddy.
2.10 Preach temperance: say he is overgorg'd and drowns his wit
2.11 In strong drink, though you know that bread and water are all
2.12 He can afford. Flatter his wife, pity his children, till we can
2.13 Reduce all to our will, as spaniels are taught with art."
3.1 The sun has left his blackness and has found a fresher morning,
3.2 And the mild moon rejoices in the clear and cloudless night,
3.3 And Man walks forth from midst of the fires: the evil is all consum'd.
3.4 His eyes behold the Angelic spheres arising night and day;
3.5 The stars consum'd like a lamp blown out, and in their stead, behold
3.6 The expanding eyes of Man behold the depths of wondrous worlds!
3.7 One Earth, one sea beneath; nor erring globes wander, but stars
3.8 Of fire rise up nightly from the ocean; and one sun

3.9 Each morning, like a new born man, issues with songs and joy
3.10 Calling the Plowman to his labour and the Shepherd to his rest.
3.11 He walks upon the Eternal Mountains, raising his heavenly voice,
3.12 Conversing with the animal forms of wisdom night and day,
3.13 That, risen from the sea of fire, renew'd walk o'er the Earth;
3.14 For Tharmas brought his flocks upon the hills, and in the vales
3.15 Around the Eternal Man's bright tent, the little children play
3.16 Among the woolly flocks. The hammer of Urthona sounds
3.17 In the deep caves beneath; his limbs renew'd, his Lions roar
3.18 Around the Furnaces and in evening sport upon the plains.
3.19 They raise their faces from the earth, conversing with the Man:
3.20 "How is it we have walk'd through fires and yet are not consum'd?
3.21 How is it that all things are chang'd, even as in ancient times?"
William Blake

French Revolution, The (excerpt)
84 Thee the ancientest peer, Duke of Burgundy, rose from the monarch's right
hand, red as wines
85 From his mountains; an odor of war, like a ripe vineyard, rose from his garments,
86 And the chamber became as a clouded sky; o'er the council he stretch'd his red
limbs,
87 Cloth'd in flames of crimson; as a ripe vineyard stretches over sheaves of corn,
88 The fierce Duke hung over the council; around him crowd, weeping in his burning
robe,
89 A bright cloud of infant souls; his words fall like purple autumn on the sheaves:
90 "Shall this marble built heaven become a clay cottage, this earth an oak stool and
these mowers
91 From the Atlantic mountains mow down all this great starry harvest of six
thousand years?
92 And shall Necker, the hind of Geneva, stretch out his crook'd sickle o'er fertile
France
93 Till our purple and crimson is faded to russet, and the kingdoms of earth bound in
sheaves,
94 And the ancient forests of chivalry hewn, and the joys of the combat burnt for
fuel;
95 Till the power and dominion is rent from the pole, sword and sceptre from sun and
moon,
96 The law and gospel from fire and air, and eternal reason and science
97 From the deep and the solid, and man lay his faded head down on the rock
98 Of eternity, where the eternal lion and eagle remain to devour?
99 This to prevent--urg'd by cries in day, and prophetic dreams hovering in night,
100 To enrich the lean earth that craves, furrow'd with plows, whose seed is
departing from her--
101 Thy nobles have gather'd thy starry hosts round this rebellious city,
102 To rouze up the ancient forests of Europe, with clarions of cloud breathing war,
103 To hear the horse neigh to the drum and trumpet, and the trumpet and war
shout reply.
104 Stretch the hand that beckons the eagles of heaven; they cry over Paris, and
wait
105 Till Fayette point his finger to Versailles; the eagles of heaven must have their
prey!"
106 He ceas'd, and burn'd silent; red clouds roll round Necker; a weeping is heard
o'er the palace.
107 Like a dark cloud Necker paus'd, and like thunder on the just man's burial day he
paus'd;
108 Silent sit the winds, silent the meadows, while the husbandman and woman of
weakness
109 And bright children look after him into the grave, and water his clay with love,
110 Then turn towards pensive fields; so Necker paus'd, and his visage was covered
with clouds.
111 The King lean'd on his mountains, then lifted his head and look'd on his armies,
that shone
112 Through heaven, tinging morning with beams of blood; then turning to Burgundy,
troubled:
113 "Burgundy, thou wast born a lion! My soul is o'ergrown with distress.
114 For the nobles of France, and dark mists roll round me and blot the writing of
God

115 Written in my bosom. Necker rise! leave the kingdom, thy life is surrounded with
snares.
116 We have call'd an Assembly, but not to destroy; we have given gifts, not to the
weak;
117 I hear rushing of muskets, and bright'ning of swords, and visages redd'ning with
war,
118 Frowning and looking up from brooding villages and every dark'ning city.
119 Ancient wonders frown over the kingdom, and cries of women and babes are
heard,
120 And tempests of doubt roll around me, and fierce sorrows, because of the nobles
of France.
121 Depart! answer not! for the tempest must fall, as in years that are passed away."

William Blake

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